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What are some nursery web spider facts?

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Quick Answer

Nursery web spiders are named for their habit of lashing leaves together as a shelter for newly hatched spiderlings, which they watch over until their first moult. Their maternal care is extensive for spiders, and they carry unhatched egg sacs on their bellies. Courtship is often an extended process with nursery spiders; males bring females gifts of captured insects, with mating only occurring when the female accepts the gift.

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Full Answer

Mating is a detailed process for nursery web spiders, during which males approach the larger females cautiously, despite the rarity of females killing males after mating. Sometimes, the male even tries to put a small web between them first. When a male approaches a female, he brings a captured insect as a gift. Many times, the female chases him away, but if she accepts, he can mate with her. Males frequently steal back the prey after mating.

In addition to their unusual breeding habits, nursery web spiders are unusual in their use of water as a way of escaping predation. A nursery web spider that flees onto a lake will often run across its surface, or even dive, to get away. Wasps are the most frequent predators of these spiders, although other spiders are also a substantial threat.

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